The next-generation of Microsoft Flight Simulator has been out there flying for some weeks now. Due to its easy availability via Xbox Game Pass subscription for all types of gamer, here are some useful tips for you, if no knowledge of flight simulations has yet been learned.
- You need a joystick or a gamepad – It is possible to set up the mouse to control the aircraft movements by using the help of a 3rd party software. The mouse is much more needed in panning the camera view inside the 3D cockpit as well as control the knobs and buttons, so leave it for that. We more than highly recommend to get a joystick or at least a gamepad. Xbox Controller works fine after decreasing its axis sensitivies down to value -80 in the MSFS control settings, sometimes it can be hard to adjust the throttle accurately though.
- Set the graphics to match the hardware – The new MSFS is quite well optimized compared to previous Flight Simulator editions. Still, running all Graphics settings set to Ultra can make flying stuttering even in running it on high-end hardware. For more information on how different graphics options impact on frame-rate, you can read an article of it here.
- Learn to fly – Before you really can enjoy flying and understand why your plane stalls down from the sky, learn the basics of flying by completing the Training section. There are a few short enough flying lessons using one of the most used school plane, the Cessna 152. Prefer flying only the single engine props for some time after the training. The faster business jets and airliners have dozens of more buttons to operate and there is no point learning those before basic flying skills have been learned.
- Let AI control checklists and radio – If you are unfamiliar with the aircraft type, there is a great feature in the new MSFS, which lets the AI co-pilot handle checklists. If you start the flight from a runway, the aircraft is already set for take-off. If instead, you choose a ramp or a gate for departure, the aircraft will be cold and dark. In this situation, a bit of help from the co-pilot can come very handy, or by following the in-game checklist point by point, you’ll learn to start-up different aircraft types yourself. The same is true when communicating with the built-in ATC, you can let the co-pilot to handle the radios as well.
- Assistance for your needs – The new MSFS offers a variety of options for assisted flying. For example, if flying using a gamepad, I prefer using the Take-off Auto Rudder option. This is due to the lack of a twisted joystick handle for more precise rudder control during take-off and landing rolls. Another good one is the Assisted Yoke option, which is basically steering assistance, making your controls less sensitive.
- Active Pause helps taking screenshots – There is a feature called Active Pause, which by pressing the PAUSE key, will stop your aircraft movement but keep all the other activities around you going on. If you want to take some great screenshots where ever you are flying, it is good to keep this feature in mind. During Active Pause you can take a screenshot by pressing the WINDOWS key + PRINT SCREEN key. Pictures taken by this method are saved automatically in the Windows Screenshots folder.